The Hideous Sun Demon

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The Hideous Sun Demon

Post  BoG on Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:24 am

Robert Clarke, who'd been in  a few low budget sci-fiers in the fifties as an actor, decided to go it on his own as producer-director, besides also starring in this pic, because he realized there's money to be made on low budget efforts. His was the typical shoestring effort - filmed on weekends, made for about $50,000 - but it gained a certain cult film appeal eventually.

Clarke has stated that he based his premise on the old Jekyll-and-Hyde story but I found that it turned the old werewolf legend on its head: instead of the moon causing a change in the main character, it's the sun. In the plot, the character gets a bad dose of radioactivity but baffles the doctors in that he seems to suffer no ill effects (though he does seem feverish).  While still at the hospital, he decides to sunbathe on the roof and that's when the change occurs - he becomes scaly. One would expect the monster to run amok then-and-there, but the story holds off on such terror; he merely causes some fainting.
The film then attempts to build up tension by showing how the man must now live the life of a recluse, asking the audience to wait for the eventual havoc that we're sure must come. The trouble is, it's a long wait and tension is low. For some reason, the Sun Demon takes out all his aggression on a poor rat during the first 50 minutes and we must content ourselves with glimpses of the $500 monster suit for that time. There are a couple of fight scenes among normal humans and these are clumsy, amateurish. Later, the monster viciously kills a dog; so, this may not be for animal lovers.
What really betrays this film's low budget roots is the curious disinterest that everyone - doctors, his girlfriend, cops - has in regards to this guy's potentially dangerous condition until he does in fact kill a man and then a cop (he hits him with a car). Only then does this become a 'fugitive monster' plot in the last 20 minutes - that's when the picture does "move" as Clarke has stated in interviews. BoG's Score: 4 out of 10

Hideous Trivia: one of the few old sf films which were re-dubbed with a comedic audio track later for the amusement of fans; in this case the revised film was called Revenge of the Sun Demon or What's Up, Hideous Sun Demon?
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